The Bigger Vision

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We published in these fine journals because we are disappointed in Squaw/KSL’s media blitz promoting the Squaw-Alpine Gondola. We have been meeting with the KSL people for a long time now, but you wouldn’t know it by their story-telling. So we want to get a few facts out there.

 

The “California Express” Squaw-Alpine Gondola

The Other View

I. The Wilderness Vision

  • A conservation organization raised money in the early 1960s to buy Five Lakes Basin to protect it from development, then gifted the land to the public.
  • The Wilderness Act of 1984 specifically intended
    to further protect the Five Lakes, the Granite Chief landscapes and the unique biological resources from ski resort and other development.
  • The eastern boundary of the Granite Chief Designated Wilderness would be eliminated if the California Express Gondola were approved as proposed.

II. The Proposed Gondola Route Significantly Impacts an Endangered Species

  • Many of the towers required for the gondola would be constructed within the Critical Habitat of the endangered Sierra Yellow-legged frog.
  • Gondola operations would present ongoing threats of harm to this species, particularly during spring.
  • In 2015 five conservation groups asked KSL to stay out of the Wilderness Boundary and away from Critical Habitat, but we have seen no change.

III. The Gondola and the Disneyland Factor

A. Is the California Express Gondola part of the Squaw/KSL “flatlanding” of our Tahoe and the Great Sierras?

  • A Water Park, a Roller Coaster, a Gondola, 10-Story towers at Squaw Village: is that our ‘Vision?’

IV. Squaw/KSL Carbon Footprinting and Climate Change

  • The California Express Gondola “would cut 18 tons of carbon emissions every year.”
    • That amounts to about 0.0087% of Squaw’s current transportation footprint, an estimated 20,470 MTons/year.
    • Squaw/KSL Proposed Village Development would add another 38,975 MTons/year of carbon emissions.
    • All climate models already point to a future of shorter and shorter ski seasons, with more rains in the winter months.
  • “Visions” like Squaw/KSL will only accelerate serious climate impacts to the Sierra’s health and resiliency.

When we speak of “Vision” let us think about future generations; the legacy visions of John Muir, of the authors of the Wilderness Act, of those people that have worked so hard for decades to protect our mountains, versus exploit them.

Granite Chief Wilderness Protection League
http://www.protectgranitechief@wordpress.com | Granite Chief | @protectgc

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